The link between types of oils and keto nutrition is in fats, which play an important role in ensuring optimal health, well-being and sustainable ketosis. As they are the main source of energy in the keto regime, consuming the right oils is key to good results.
Vegetable oils have zero carbohydrates and proteins, which makes them a good and useful source of fat. Namely, you need them not only when practicing keto nutrition, but also a healthy lifestyle in general.
However, not all types of oils are the same and suitable for the regime. Today we will help you make the right choice by explaining in detail the relationship between types of oils and keto nutrition
What is the relationship Between the types of oils and the Keto diet and are they Suitable for the Diet?
This question is more or less rhetorical, because, as we know, it is fat that is the basis of this regime. The body uses them as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates. You may have heard that if you follow a keto diet, the more fat you eat, the more fat you will lose. However, this is not entirely true.
If you eat more fat than you need to get full, it can slow down or stop weight loss. Even if you have limited carbohydrates to a minimum. Your body is less likely to burn its own fat if there is an excess of it, regardless of their type. This is true even of the medium chain fats found in coconut oil and MCT oil, which are usually burned rather than stored.
The amount of fat you need to eat in a keto diet depends on a number of things. Factors include protein and carbohydrate intake, your current weight and the goals you have – to lose weight, maintain weight or gain weight. The simplest advice is to eat enough to get full, but not to overeat.
Once you reach your target weight, adding a little more fat (without overdoing it) to your diet is recommended. It is important to keep the same amount of carbohydrates and proteins. This tactic can help you maintain weight in the long run. This usually happens automatically if you follow your body’s signals.
What do we Need to know about the Role and composition of fats?
Fats are found in both animal and plant products.
Although their main function is to provide energy, they play several other important roles:
- help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K1
- control inflammation and immunity
- maintain cell health
- they add variety to the food and satiate us
The main molecules that make up fat are triglycerides. A triglyceride is formed when a glycerol molecule binds to 3 fatty acid chains. They are made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. We can classify them mainly on two grounds – the number of bonds between carbon atoms and the length of their chains.
Classification of fats by Number of bonds
They do not have double bonds between the carbons in their chains. They are “saturated” with hydrogen and remain solid at room temperature. Healthy keto sources of saturated fats include butter, cream and ghee.
They have a double bond between the carbons in their chains. Healthy keto sources of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, avocados and nuts.
They have more than one double bond between the carbons in their chains. Healthy keto sources of polyunsaturated fats include oily fish, meat, nuts and seeds. There are two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Classification according to Chain length
Short chain fatty acids
They consist of 5 or less carbon. Sources of short-chain fatty acids are, for example, butter and cream.
Medium chain fatty acids
They contain 6-12 carbons. Examples of foods that contain medium chain triglycerides are coconut oil and MCT oil.
Long chain fatty acids
They have 13 or more carbons. Most fats in keto foods are made up of long-chain fatty acids. These include meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, seeds, avocados and olives.
Top 3 most suitable Oils for the Keto diet
Remember that in order for an oil to be suitable for the keto diet, it must meet the following conditions:
- to withstand high temperatures without decomposing into toxic products
- to provide healthy fats and health benefits
- to go well with keto dishes
Extra virgin olive oil is emerging as the best choice, covering all three conditions. Its many health benefits and cooking stability, as well as its ability to improve the taste of almost any keto meal, cannot be compared to the qualities of any other oil. Of course, there are several other options you can use. These include coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, saffron oil, sesame oil and red palm oil. Let’s look at the relationship between the types of oils and the keto diet – which are the most appropriate and widely used.
Extra virgin olive oil and Keto meal
Everyone should have extra virgin olive oil in their kitchen. Despite standard tips for avoiding this high-temperature cooking oil, recent studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil is most resistant to oxidation when used in frying. However, this does not mean that every olive oil has these qualities.
It is crucial to use only 100% extra virgin olive oil and look for the freshest possible product. Because the oil usually acquires a bitter taste and unpleasant odor (rancidity) 12-14 months after pressing. The article How to Know the Real, Quality Olive Oil will best guide you in your choice.
Equipped with healthy monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, it serves as the perfect fat for salad dressing and adds extra flavor to a variety of keto dishes. As mentioned, it is suitable for baking and frying at high temperatures. If we have to look for flaws, we can mention as such:
- taste may not be suitable for some recipes
- sometimes it is difficult to find a reliable and budget brand that will provide you with maximum benefits
Read in detail about the qualities and uses of olive oil in the article Olive oil – from the olive tree to the table.
The relationship between the Types of Coconut oils and the Keto diet
There are two types of coconut oil that are suitable for keto nutrition: refined and unrefined (cold pressed).
Refined coconut oil is odorless, odorless and is usually the cheapest type of coconut oil. It is also the next after extra virgin olive oil in terms of cooking stability. If you are looking for a multifunctional fat for tasteless cooking, then refined coconut oil is the better option.
Let’s summarize its advantages in keto nutrition:
- can be cooked at high temperature
- great for making keto desserts if you don’t like coconut flavor
- tasteless and odorless
- it is cheap
- helps promote ketosis
On the other hand, unrefined coconut oil is usually more expensive and has a distinct coconut flavor. This species is considered healthier because it is obtained by cold pressing, without heat treatment to affect its nutritional composition. However, unrefined coconut oil is not recommended for cooking at high temperatures, as it contains more delicate compounds that are prone to oxidation. Advantages of cold pressed coconut oil for the keto diet are:
- perfect base for making keto chocolate and desserts with coconut flavor;
- it is healthier;
- helps promote ketosis.
You will find more about its qualities in the article Coconut oil: an indispensable part of the kitchen and cosmetics.
MCT oil and keto nutrition
As mentioned, coconut oil helps increase ketosis. This is because it contains a type of saturated fat: medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which help promote ketone production. These are the fats that are extracted from coconut oil (or palm kernel oil) to create MCT oil. Unfortunately, we cannot say here that all MCT products are the same.
When buying MCT oil, it is best to look for a product that consists only of caprylic and capric acids. This combination has been found to increase ketone levels significantly more than coconut oil. You may also find products that consist only of caprylic acid. However, they are usually more expensive.
Advantages of using MCT oil in keto nutrition also include:
- relieving the symptoms of keto flu
- it is also the ideal choice for smoothies and various dressings
Attention! It should not be cooked at high temperatures. It can become toxic and cause gastrointestinal problems.
This is our top 3 of keto oils, but you should not limit yourself to it. Vegetable oils are not your only option in the keto regime. You can also use your favorite animal fats, of course, in moderation. Most importantly, we have helped you, we hope – successfully, to understand the role of fat in keto nutrition. Be sure to add them to your menu and stay healthy!